Football

This Week on the MSA Sports Network – 06/24/2014
June 24, 2014
We celebrate the first full week of summer with another busy week of pro baseball and pro softball action with another high school football all-star game this week here on the MSA Sports Network. The Washington Wild Things close out their home stand for three games at CONSOL Energy Field before hitting the road this weekend, while the Pennsylvania Rebellion visit Akron for two weekend pro fast pitch softball games, plus the 2014 Penn/Ohio High School Football All-Star Game and another edition of Rappin on Racin ALL here at MSAsports.net Monday, June 23rd: TALK SHOW - Rappin on Racin at 6:00pm on MSAsports.net

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This Week on the MSA Sports Network – 06/16/2014
June 16, 2014
After honoring all of the Dad's, our attention turns to another busy week of pro baseball and pro softball action as we say so long to spring and hello to summer this week here on the MSA Sports Network. The Washington Wild Things hit the road for three games before returning home this weekend for three games at CONSOL Energy Field, which will also be the site of two home games for the Pennsylvania Rebellion pro fast pitch softball, plus the 2014 Ken Lantzy High School Football All-Star Classic along with another edition of Rappin on Racin ALL here at MSAsports.net Monday, June 16th:

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Scholastic Notebook – 06/06/2014
June 6, 2014
Connor Coward’s right arm has been a major part of Seneca Valley’s turnaround story and march through the postseason. But Coward’s bat is also starting to be a big factor. Coward is a senior pitcher-shortstop for Seneca Valley. He is one of the top pitchers in the WPIAL, but he pitched only one inning in the regular season because of a stress fracture in his back.

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Scholastic Notebook – 06/03/2014
June 3, 2014
WPIAL baseball champions took it on the chin three times in the first round of the PIAA playoffs Monday. But history shows WPIAL champs often have trouble in the PIAA playoffs. Take a look at past years and the statistics say that WPIAL champs have only a slightly better than 25 percent chance of making it to a PIAA title game.   The PIAA championships started with one class in 1977, expanded to two classes in 1979, three classes in 1999 and four classes in 2005. Since the PIAA playoffs started in 1977 and through last year, there were 96 WPIAL champs. Only 26 of those 96 teams (27 percent) made it to a PIAA title game.

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Scholastic Notebook – 05/23/3014
May 23, 2014
The perfect championships don’t happen often in WPIAL softball.  But for the Deer Lakes Lancers, they’ve been in the perfect storm before. Deer Lakes is 18-0 and will play Beaver (15-0) for the Class AA championship Thursday at California University of Pennsylvania. It is only the third time in 17 years that a softball title game will match two undefeated teams. But it’s the second year in a row for Deer Lakes. In 2013, Deer Lakes and Riverside both took undefeated records into the title game before Riverside came away with a 5-1 victory. The only other time in the past 17 years that two undefeated teams met in a final was 1998 when Carmichaels beat Sto-Rox for the Class AA crown.

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Scholastic Notebook – 05/09/2014
May 9, 2014
With every zero that he puts on the scoreboard, Blackhawk senior pitcher Brendan McKay continues to climb the national list for the longest scoreless streak? That naturally brings up two questions: Is McKay anywhere near the national record and does he have a chance to break it before he graduates? The answers are yes and yes. McKay beat Montour, 3-0, earlier this week to stretch his scoreless streak to 58 innings, dating back to last season. That is the fourth-longest streak in U.S. high school history, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations, the governing body of high school sports in the country.

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Scholastic Notebook – 05/02/2014
May 2, 2014
There are multi-sport athletes in the WPIAL who compete in more highly-visible sports than North Hills’ Noah Bostick. But as far as the number of sports and excelling in them, Bostick has few peers. It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say Bostick is most one of the best all-around athletes in the WPIAL. He is a young man for all seasons – and then some. You don’t see many three-sport athletes these days at large schools. But Bostick is more than a three-sport athlete. He actually competes in four sports, and does well in all of them.

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Scholastic Notebook – 04/25/2014
April 25, 2014
Football is only four months away and basketball ended only last month. But the coaching wheels are turning in both sports. There were a number of coaching moves this week in the WPIAL, some of them noteworthy. Here are some coaching happenings this week. In football: * Deer Lakes turned to a former NFL player as its new coach. Steve Sciullo takes over a team that did not win a game last season. Sciullo graduated from Shaler in 1988 and then played at Marshall before playing offensive line in the NFL for a few seasons. He has been an assistant coach at Hampton. * Norwin hired Dave Brozeski. He has been an assistant at Norwin for the past 17 years.

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Scholastic Notebook – 04/20/2014
April 20, 2014
If you look at the three sports of football, basketball and baseball, Baldwin has been more like Baldloss the past few years. But finally, the baseball team is putting the win back in Baldwin. Things have been absolutely perfect so far this spring for the Baldwin baseball team. The Highlanders have a perfect 7-0 record after a 13-3 victory over Gateway on Saturday. This winning is new for the three teams of football, basketball and baseball at Baldwin. There hasn’t been a winning season in those three major sports since the basketball team went 14-8 in the 2009-10 season and the baseball team went 12-6 in the 2010 season. The football team hasn’t had a winning season since 2003.

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Scholastic Notebook – 03/28/2014
March 28, 2014
Baseball and softball teams were able to start playing games last week. But it’s never too early to look ahead – and there are two teams that have a chance to make history come late May. In baseball, Seneca Valley has been to the WPIAL Class AAAA championship game three years in a row, winning twice and losing last year. The Raiders could become the first WPIAL team in at least 70 years to make a championship game four years in a row. A check of WPIAL final game scores that go back to 1954, shows that no team has played in a championship game four consecutive years. Some teams have made it three years in a row. North Allegheny made it four of five years from 1990-94. Shaler made it four of five years from 1980-84.

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Scholastic Notebook – 03/07/2014
March 7, 2014
Another postseason tournament starts this weekend for the New Castle boys basketball team and the Red Hurricanes. While New Castle has achieved a number of historical feats the past few seasons, the start of the PIAA playoffs means New Castle will take another shot at joining a most special group. But to become a member, New Castle will have to look just perfect. For the third year in a row, New Castle will take a perfect record into the PIAA tournament after winning a WPIAL title with an undefeated record.

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Scholastic Notebook – 02/21/2014
February 21, 2014
If the WPIAL basketball quarterfinals are a party for eight, Class AAAA Section 1 has done and unusual thing and made reservations for two. It’s like Section 1 has finally stood up and said “what about us?” Hempfield and Kiski Area are Section 1 teams that have made it to the quarterfinals. It might not seem like much, but seeing two from Section 1 eating at the quarterfinal table doesn’t happen often. Since 2000, this is only the fourth time that two teams from Section 1 have made the quarterfinals and the first time since 2010. In 2007, Albert Gallatin and Norwin made the quarterfinals. Norwin and Franklin Regional made it in 2008. Kiski Area and Latrobe made it in 2010.

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2014 National Letter of Intent Day – MSA Sports Elite Eleven College Destinations
February 6, 2014
Wednesday was National Letter of Intent Day where high school seniors make their verbal committments official by signing on the dotted line to the school of their choice. What were the final college destinations for the member of the 2013 MSA Sports The Elite 11 football all-star team? Here is a look: CHASE WINOVICH, THOMAS JEFFERSON QB/RB-LB, 6-4, 220, UNIVERSITY of MICHIGAN NIKO THORPE, PITTSBURGH CENTRAL CATHOLIC LB, 5-10, 225, SENIOR FORDHAM UNIVERSITY

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2014 National Letter of Intent Day – Division I Football Players from WPIAL
February 5, 2014
Here are the seniors from the WPIAL or Pittsburgh City League who have signed to make their verbal commitments to Division I-A colleges. High school seniors could not sign a binding letter of intent until Wednesday, February 5th. AKRON Brock Boxen, Beaver Falls (DL, 6-3, 260) Chandler Kincade, Blackhawk (QB, 6-4, 210) ARMY Shafer Swan, Pittsburgh Central Catholic (WR, 6-2, 180) BALL STATE Jake McPhatter, New Castle (RB-DB, 5-11, 170) BUFFALO Adam Mitcheson, Kiski Area (K-P,  6-2, 190) FLORIDA STATE J.J. Cosentino, Pittsburgh Central Catholic (QB, 6-4, 215)

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Scholastic Notebook – 02/01/2014
February 1, 2014
The son is shining all over area basketball this season. It is quite common to see a coach’s son do well in WPIAL basketball. But it just seems there are more than usual father-son combos doing well this year. Four sons whose father is the head coach are averaging between 17 and 22 points a game for teams that all have at least clinched a WPIAL playoff berth, or are in good shape to make it to the postseason. * Julian Batts, a junior guard at Jeannette, averages 22 a game for the Jayhawks. His father is Adrian Batts. Jeannette is tied for second place in Class AA Section 3. * Matty McConnell averages 19 a game for Chartiers Valley, which has clinched at least a tie for the Class AA Section 5 title. His father is Tim McConnell.

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Scholastic Notebook – 01/24/2014
January 24, 2014
All of a sudden, the menu of top boys basketball teams in WPIAL Class AAAA Section 4 has Big Macs on it. The Canon-McMillan Big Macs have pushed their way into a tie for the Section 4 lead with Upper St. Clair. The two teams meet tonight in a big game. Although Section 4 isn’t strong this year, nothing should take away from the Big Macs’ surge. They were 3-4 at one point this season and have since won seven of eight. Of the last five wins, Canon-McMillan has give up 46 points or less in four of those games. Canon-McMillan has a legitimate shot at a section title. Section title and Canon-McMillan usually aren’t mentioned in the same sentence.

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WPIAL FOOTBALL ALIGNMENT FOR 2014
January 21, 2014
Two years ago, there were major changes in the WPIAL football conference alignment. The biggest change came in Class AAAA and Class AAA where both classifications shrunk from the standard four conferences to three conferences and the wild card came into play. This time around, there were hardly any changes to the top two classifications while the biggest moves were made as expected in Class A.                          

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Scholastic Notebook – 01/17/2014
January 17, 2014
Jared Walker and his brother, Zach, brought a lot of people to the ground during football season. The Walkers led undefeated South Fayette in tackles. In the winter, the Walkers are pretty good at taking more people down to the mat. You’ll have to think long and hard to come up with two brothers in the WPIAL who were so good at football – and so good at wrestling. Jared Walker, a South Fayette junior, is the No. 1-ranked WPIAL Class AA wrestler in the 170-pound division. He entered the week with a 7-0 record. Zach Walker, a senior, is No. 1-ranked at 195 pounds. He was 6-1 entering the week. The Walkers are two of the main reasons South Fayette is the MSA Sports’ No. 3-ranked team in Class AA.

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Scholastic Notebook – 01/10/2014
January 10, 2014
No matter what time of year it is at Western Beaver High School, it always seems to be Miller Time. Miller is a senior at Western Beaver. True, he may not be at the same athletic level as, say, New Castle’s Malik Hooker or Gateway’s Montae Nicholson, a pair of future Division I college players who shine in others sports. But as far as production goes in three sports, you’d be hard-pressed to find a WPIAL athlete who is better than Miller. Western Beaver was a .500 team in football, but Miller was their leading receiver for the second year in a row.

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Scholastic Notebook – 01/05/2014
January 5, 2014
Ever since George Yokitis became Vincentian’s boys basketball coach in the 2008-09 season, he has tried to have his teams play an up-tempo, full-court style. The Royals press, trap all over the court and try to keep the tempo at a fast pace on offense. But the style has never created scoring like this year. Vincentian Academy is undefeated and scoring at a pace that is rarely seen around the WPIAL. The Royals are averaging 92.1 points a game and have scored 90 points or more seven times. You can say that it’s easier to play this way in Class A. And yes, Vincentian plays on a small court, which makes it easier to score more and trap more defensively. But still, the Royals haven’t scored like this in the past.

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